Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That on BINGE makes some bold choices
Episodes: 10 x episodes (42-44 minutes each)
Sex and the City started in 1998 and ran until 2004. During that time it was a huge hit, its combination of frankly discussed sexuality, sass and shoes winning millions of fans the world over. It was followed by one okay movie in 2008 and an awful sequel in 2010.
Don’t even ask about the prequel show The Carrie Diaries. Just… don’t.
Point is, bringing back the ladies of SATC all these years later, and in 2021 of all times, is a curious choice. That said, And Just Like That… certainly has its good points, even if they are a little obfuscated at times by the bad.
And Just Like That… picks up with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) years after we last saw them, living in post-pandemic New York.
You’ll notice that Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is absent from the roster. This is because Kim had zero interest in returning to the show, possibly due to the rumour she and SJP loathe each other with a venomous passion.
This isn’t an ideal situation, but we’ll circle back to it a bit later.
Carrie is still happily with Mr. Big (Chris Noth) and attempting to reinvent herself in the era of podcasts, prolific pronoun usage and sex positivity. Carrie represents the “female cisgender” voice on the XYandMe podcast, but can’t seem to express herself like she used to.
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Miranda has quit her high-falutin’ law firm after 30 years and is going back to uni to study human rights. She’s still married to lovely Steve (David Eigenberg) and is dealing with having a sexually active, 17-year-old son who lives at home.
Charlotte meanwhile obsesses about her daughters, her home and making friends with fellow parent Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker). She’s also desperately attempting to hide her age using hair dye (which is remarked upon) and cosmetic surgery (which is not).
Look, we’re not going to sugarcoat this: the first episode of And Just Like That… for most of its runtime? Is not good. Something just feels fundamentally off about the whole thing.
The opening chat over drinks is weirdly over-lit and awkwardly staged, and the dialogue veers between mildly clever to straight up awful, sometimes in the same shot.
The lack of Samantha is really apparent, particularly in the early scenes, and while it’s possible Cattrall will be back for later seasons (we can hope!), her absence casts a pall over the entire venture.
However, something happens, something erm… BIG in the latter stage of the first episode and it suddenly becomes clear what this show is all about.
And Just Like That… isn’t an attempt to reproduce Sex and the City with 50-somethings. It’s actually trying to explore the notion of new beginnings in middle age.
This is probably heavier stuff than old school fans of SATC might be expecting. If you were hoping for Manhattans being quaffed, shade being thrown and sexual antics being cackled at, you’ll likely be a little perturbed.
And yet, there is quite a lot to like here. Miranda’s attempts to not appear to be the clueless old white lady and totally stumbling into that very role is both hilarious and hide-behind-the-couch cringeworthy.
Carrie’s new chapter and dealing with a life she didn’t expect is actually quite deftly done at times, and moving on occasion. Sarah Jessica Parker continues to bring a lot to the role that made her famous.
The weakest link, as always, is Charlotte. She has grown very little from the last time we saw her and seems completely content to just drift along being all, you know, Charlottey. Hopefully she’ll have more to do in future episodes because right now she’s as bland as unsalted tofu.
And Just Like That… is far from perfect. The lack of Samantha, the uneven dialogue and some of the ropier subplots will hinder enjoyment.
However, the fact it does take such a bold narrative swing is admirable and builds a foundation upon which a solid show can be built. Whether or not you want to follow these ladies into their slightly depressing middle age and beyond is a matter for you.
In case you missed it: Here's what else was new on Netflix, Stan, Binge and Disney+ November Dec 6-12.
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